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Henry quits France team

France's all-time record goalscorer Thierry Henry has retired from international football following their disastrous performance at the World Cup finals.

• Henry joins Red Bulls
• Anelka: squad were united

Henry, 32, confirmed on Wednesday he has signed for New York Red Bulls in MLS and will not attempt to retain his place in the France set-up having departed the European football scene. Henry told AP it is "the end for me on the national team".

"South Africa didn't play any part in it,'' he said at his unveiling by the Red Bulls on Thursday. "I could have announced it before the World Cup but I just didn't want to put that type of cloud on top of the team.

"My decision was already taken before the World Cup. I think it was time for me to stop after the World Cup.''

The news means that the 2-1 defeat to South Africa that confirmed France's exit at the group stages of the World Cup was Henry's 123rd and final appearance for les Bleus.

"I actually would like to know myself (what went wrong in South Africa),'' he said. "I don't know what it was. From a personal point of view, I am always going to respect the decision of the coach. It was (Raymond Domenech's) decision not to play me and I respect that.

"Lots of stuff was invented unfortunately. I just like to stick to the pitch, and the problem was we didn't play very well. That's the only thing we should be talking about right now. We didn't perform. It's as simple as that.''

"We had a good atmosphere, but when you don't perform well it is difficult. A lot of the stories that came out were invented. For me, you can also have a lot of stuff happening when you win. We just didn't play well. I will stick to this.''

"You have to remember that with a world champion team, we went to the World Cup in 2002 and didn't score a goal, so it's not just this generation.

"I think the team should move on now with Laurent Blanc in position as the coach, and hopefully they can qualify for the European Championships and do well in that competition.''

The forward won his first cap in 1997 and was the country's top scorer as they secured their first ever World Cup triumph on home turf in 1998.

Henry was also a member of the team that followed up that success by winning Euro 2000, and went on to feature in every major tournament up to and including this summer's World Cup finals as he became one of world football's most feared strikers.

He was granted the honour of captaining his country by Raymond Domenech following Zinedine Zidane's retirement in wake of France's defeat in the 2006 World Cup final. He lost the armband ahead of the tournament in South Africa as he was no longer a guaranteed starter in Domenech's side.

In the following year, Henry surpassed Michel Platini's record of 41 international goals when scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Lithuania during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. In total, Henry scored 51 goals in 123 appearances for France.


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